Openly gay Sydney MP, Alex Greenwich has a message for NSW’s LGBTQI community as Australia’s COVID-19 crisis continues to ramp up.
As the number of Coronavirus cases now surpasses 2000 in Australia, Greenwich spoke to Star Observer to affirm the need for social isolation and camaraderie among community members during Australia’s growing health and financial emergency.
“We are currently in a health and economic crisis. It is so important that we look after ourselves and those around us. It’s also critically important that we heed the message around quarantine and social isolation,” he said.
“It is a challenge for our community to avoid large social gatherings because the history of the LGBTQI community has always been one where we get together in person. Whether its bars or clubs, we’ve always wanted to support and see each other.
“However, to stop the spread of COVID-19, and to save lives, we need to put that on pause for the time being.
“That doesn’t mean that we can’t still engage with people through skype and facetime and calling, and it doesn’t mean that we have to stop supporting our favourite bars and restaurants.”
As the nationwide lockdown of pubs, clubs, restaurants and even churches takes effect, LGBTQI performers, venues and event managers are feeling more uncertain about their financial future than ever.
Despite the Federal Government’s introduction of new allowances to support struggling small businesses, many of Sydney’s most iconic gay pubs and clubs will still have to worry about keeping their heads above economic water.
However, Greenwich today announced that the NSW Government will allow delivery and takeaway of alcohol and food from bars and pubs who choose to do so.
As a result, Greenwich is calling on LGBTQI community members to support the local businesses who have continuously supported Sydney’s community throughout the years.
“We can still support our favourite gay bars should they be offering delivery or takeaway services. That’s going to be critical because we’re going to want to go back to Stonewall, so these are some ways we can make sure these bars stay in business,”
“Now is not the time to not be precious or proud. If you and your business need income support, it is being made available at all levels of government.”
Greenwich also personally notes that as LGBTQI people stare in the face of great uncertainty during this health crisis, we must now call upon the same communal-strength that has helped our community survive throughout history.
“People are very fearful and very anxious in the community. People have lost jobs, hours and income. They’ve seen friends and family members get sick and worried,” he said.
“It’s important for our community to remember that we’ve been through this before with the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 80s. We proved that we were resilient, and we have to draw upon that resilience now to get through this health and economic crisis.
“But to do that, we need to stay physically away from each other.”